Jacques Monclar: "Magic has fallen in love with Antibes"

Jacques Monclar, NBA consultant for beIN Sports, recounts his meeting with Magic Johnson during the Dream Team's stay on the Côte d'Azur twenty-eight years ago. "At the time, I was coaching Antibes and I had benefited of the event to spend a day in Monaco. There, I found people from the NBA who, the year before, had come in search for the future stay of the Dream Team in Monaco and Barcelona. They came to see a final of the French Championship in Antibes. Suddenly, they allowed me to attend two Dream Team training sessions. Later, I was told that Magic wanted to visit the region a bit and discover Antibes. July 20 was lovely … But it was an incredible day. We had to rent a car to transport everyone, we took NBA photographer Andy Bernstein, a journalist friend and NBA people and we went to Antibes with Magic … In the car, I got pinched … On the other hand, I did not know where I was going, I had to improvise all the following, organize something very quickly, find a place to have lunch. Arrived at the port, I called the mayor of Antibes from a telephone booth to requisition his boat in order to take Magic around the Cap d'Antibes. He was delighted with the panorama, he even asked the price of the villas. We had lunch with him on the beach, he fell in love with Antibes and the surrounding area. But it was quickly the riot around him, 500 people at least! I have a friend who even knelt before him to pray (laughs). And it was the mayor of Antibes, Pierre Merli, who brought us back with Magic by the sea to Monaco at the end of the day. Magic then offered to join him at Jimmy's, a Monaco nightclub, and we returned there the next day … I even found him in Barcelona at the Dream Team hotel. Three years later, he came to play a charity match for the fight against AIDS in Antibes, we did a shooting session together and since he criss-crosses the coast every summer, his circuit is Calvi – Saint- Tropez – Antibes. That summer, when he was HIV positive and no longer playing in the NBA, he had smirked non-stop. It is an unforgettable memory. "